Fish Texas E-newsletter: Spring Edition

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Fish Texas E-Newsletter

In this issue: Digital Extra: Texas Fishing 2012 | Great Fishing Lakes for Spring | The Forgotten Flounder | Getting Gear Ready for Spring | Top Ten Reasons to Buy a License This Spring | Toyota ShareLunker Season Underway | Fishing Regulations Changes Proposed |  Boating Safety Rule Changes | Let’s Talk Crappie! | On The Stringer – Upcoming Events

Digital Extra: Texas Fishing 2012

Fish Texas 2012 cover  
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine presents its first-ever digital extra: Texas Fishing 2012.

This free 40-page digital publication features a 2012 fishing forecast by TPWD staffer and long-time outdoor writer Steve Lightfoot as well as a figurative tackle box full of topical articles aimed at making your next fishing trip enjoyable and productive.

Great Fishing Lakes for Spring

father daughter fishing  
Weather forecasters aren’t willing to say the drought of 2011 is over, but many lakes and streams are looking alive again after recent rains. There are plenty of fish out there if you know where to cast your bait.

The legendary Lake Fork is 6 feet below normal, but most boat ramps are still usable, and with less water it may be easier to find the fish. Lake Fork produced the first Toyota ShareLunker of the 2011-2012 season on December 27, and three 12-pound largemouth bass were caught there in January.

In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Grapevine Lake was sitting above full pool level early this week. It has good populations of white, largemouth and spotted bass, a developing population of smallmouth bass, and good populations of blue and channel catfish.

Lake Waco is also slightly above full. Flooded timber offers hiding places for largemouth bass and crappie, and inflows from the three forks of the Bosque River should make for good white bass runs. There’s 30-45 inch slot limit on blue cats at this lake.

Power plant cooling lakes tend to keep stable levels and are good places to fish in early spring. Staff biologist Marcos De Jesus recommends Fayette Lake near La Grange, with Lake Bastrop and Austin's Walter E. Long Lake running close behind. Coleto Creek Reservoir near Victoria has good fisheries for bass, crappie and catfish, and is getting good reviews on fishing forums. A February electrofishing survey at Coleto Creek revealed plenty of bass in the shallows (<6 ft) with some near six pounds.

In deep East Texas, Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Toledo Bend Reservoir should offer excellent fishing this spring. Water levels are up, and surviving aquatic vegetation is providing good habitat for spawning bass and crappie. Boaters should be cautious of underwater stumps even during high water conditions.

Check the weekly fishing reports for current conditions on 70 Texas lakes!

The Forgotten Flounder

flounder in hand  
One of the top three sport fish in Texas, flounder has gotten so popular that TPWD fish hatcheries have started stocking flounder in Texas bays. Watch this video segment about Texas flounder from the upcoming Texas Parks & Wildlife television program airing on local PBS affiliates. Tune in to see this story along with the entire show — check here for your local station and air times.

Getting Gear Ready for Spring 

reel in hand  
Is your reel ready for spring fishing? Thanks to the demands of daily life, many of us can go fishing only a few times a year, so our equipment may sit untended. Sometimes we forget the “end of trip” maintenance that will keep our equipment going long and strong. Take a few minutes to make sure your gear is in good working order. Read some essential tips in “The Real Deal About Reels” from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.

Top Ten Reasons to Buy a License This Spring 

fishing buddies  
1.   You don’t want to “flounder around” with nothing to do — Fishing helps you look busy.
2.   Fishing is affordable fun — Have some cheap thrills without 3-D, high def or big screens.
3.   So you can share a pastime that will last a lifetime — The memories will always be bigger than the fish.
4.   Connect — Fishing is something to do with the whole family.
5.   Disconnect — Fishing is something to do without the whole family.
6.   It’s the law — A fine up to $500 is more expensive than a $30 fishing license.
7.   To spend time in nature — There’s a lot more to enjoy waiting by a lake for the fish to bite than when you're Wii fishing in your living room.
8.   Besides, your catch from video game fishing won’t fry up very well.
9.  It’s a good investment — 100% of your purchase goes to support conservation efforts in Texas waters, insuring fish will be there tomorrow.
10. You just might get a chance to go fishing — So prove you’re a card-carrying optimist.

Buy a license — Call 800-895-4284, go to or visit your local license retailer.

Toyota ShareLunker Season Underway

Brudnicki with bass  
Here’s a picture of a happy angler: Jason Brudnicki with ShareLunker #525, the 13.36- pound bass he landed December 28 at Falcon Lake. Don’t miss out on the annual Toyota ShareLunker fun where anglers who catch 13-pound-plus largemouth bass lend or donate the fish to TPWD for spawning purposes.

The program runs through April 30 so there’s still time to participate. Here’s the information you need to know. If you catch a lunker, check the program rules and call the 24-hour pager at 888-784-0600. Follow the action on the ShareLunker Facebook page. You can also be notified by email of any ShareLunkers caught.

Fishing Regulations Changes Proposed

angler releasing a fish  
Proposed changes to Texas fishing regulations are available for review. The public can review proposed changes and offer written input through 5:00 p.m. on March 28. A schedule of public hearings is another opportunity for public input. Proposals to help control aquatic invasive species such as Zebra mussels are also available.

For additional information about the proposals, contact Ken Kurzawski at (512) 389-4591 or by e-mail at

Boating Safety Rule Changes

man on jetski  
Will you and your boat be good to go when Texas waters warm up? Got boater ed? Anyone born after Sept. 1, 1993 looking forward to operating a motor-powered vessel, sailboat or personal watercraft on Texas public waters needs to have completed a state-approved boater education course.

Prior to passage of the new law, only boat operators ages 13-17 had to take a boater education course. Read more detail about the new law in this recent news release.  And remember that personal safety devices (a.k.a. life vests) are now required on board all paddle craft and paddle boards.

Let’s Talk Crappie!

crappie guys  
Take a little fishing trip with “The Crappie Guys” in this video segment from an upcoming March 2012 Texas Parks & Wildlife television program, airing statewide on local PBS affiliates. One guy (Tommy Tidwell) is a high school science teacher and part-time fishing guide. The other (Wally Marshall) is the founder of the Mr. Crappie Big Crappie Classic, a family-friendly everybody-wins-something fishing tournament.

Tune in to your local station to see this upcoming story along with the entire show — check here for your local station and air times.

Read more about the popular crappie.

On The Stringer – Upcoming Events

fly fishing anglers  
Catch these upcoming events for anglers of all skills!

• Fly Fish Texas at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX. March 10, 2012 - 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tie a fly. Cast a fly. Catch a fish. Fly Fish Texas emphasizes hands-on learning and immediate application of your newly acquired skills.

Visitors can collect aquatic insects from the center’s streams, tie a fly to imitate one of those insects under the supervision of a skilled tier, learn to cast it from a casting instructor certified by the Federation of Fly Fishers, then use it to catch a rainbow trout, catfish or sunfish from one of the center’s stocked ponds or streams. Equipment available for casting classes or bring your own gear. All Fly Fish Texas activities are free with regular paid admission to the center. Keith "Catch a Fish a Day for a Year" Miller will be there. Read more about Keith below.

• Remember Keith “Catch a Fish a Day for a Year” Miller? His quest ends March 31 at Cameron Park in Waco with an event marking the end of his year to catch a fish a day. Miller will catch his daily fish from Lake Brazos during the event. At least, he’d better. Will he make it? Come out and cheer him on.

• 2012 Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest – There’s still time to take your kids or grandkids fishing and inspire them to enter the art contest. Entry deadline is March 31 for all grades K-12.

• State High School Championship Fishing Tournament, Lake Athens, June 9. Co-hosted with Federation of Student Anglers in conjunction with the awards ceremony for the Texas State Fish Art Contest awards ceremony. Visit the Federation's website for more information.